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Dennis Morgan


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Just saw a film on TCM with Dennis Morgan (Bette Davis, Olivia DeHavilland and George Burnt)....I had never seen Dennis Morgan before and don't hear him mentioned too often here.  I thought he was very handsome...can someone tell me any other good films of his?

 

Morgan was more of a singer\actor than a high quality dramatic actor but he had a fine career.

 

He started out in the first rate MGM production The Great Ziegfeld (only a singing part during one number).

 

A small role in the Grant\Harlow film Suzy.

 

He was signed by Warner Brothers and was featured in the very odd Bogie picture The Return of Doctor X,  the Cagney film The Fighting 69th and another Irish themed film Three Cheers for the Irish with Pricilla Lane.

 

His big break came on loan-out to RKO for Kitty Foyle the film in which Ginger Rogers wins an Oscar.

 

Captains of the Clouds another Cagney film.

 

In This Our Life (the film you saw), with Davis and Dehavilland.

 

The Hard Way with Ida Lupino (one of his best performances).

 

Christmas in Connecticut with Stanwyck  (a fine holiday film).

 

He made a few comedy\musicals with Jack Carson;  Two Guys from Milwaukee,  Two Guys from Texas,  and Its a Great Feeling.

 

He continue to make movies during the 50s but I haven't seen these.

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James, that was a nice overview. Looking at your list of movies, it occurs to me I'm a little surprised I know Morgan by name when I've actually seen very few of his films. There are plenty of character actors I've seen in dozens of different movies on TCM whose names I still don't know though I recognize them by face (granted, they're in smaller parts). I suppose I mainly know Morgan from Kitty Foyle, which I've probably seen a dozen times in my many years of TCM viewing (his Ronald Colman impersonation is a scream) , and Christmas in Connecticut, which I see every December and I believe is slated this year for the 8 pm prime time slot on December 1, no less.

 

After that, my Morgan knowledge gets pretty scant. I've seen The Great Ziegfeld multiple times, though obviously it's not a Morgan starring vehicle, and I always forget he's in it until he's suddenly on screen. There's some debate on imdb whether that's even his singing voice. The consensus opinion seems to be he was overdubbed with the voice of Allan Jones. Those WB films like The Hard WayThe Return of Dr. X and In This Our Life, I've seen all of them, but I think only once each, and my memory of his roles in them is pretty fuzzy.

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James mentioned some good examples of Morgan's films. He's from my home state of Wisconsin, so he gets a big cheer from me just on that count.

 

If you like him in KITTY FOYLE with Ginger, check out one James didn't mention called PERFECT STRANGERS which they made ten years later. They're both jurors on a murder case and become romantically involved. It's Hollywood hokum but the two work well together and share a lot of chemistry in their scenes.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_Strangers_(1950_film)

 

In the early 50s, his buddy Jack Carson had left Warners...but Dennis was still there, basically to finish out his contract. Jack Warner put him in a few duds at the end-- one is a western with the uninspired title CATTLE TOWN. And Dennis was teamed with Joan Crawford in a film she said was one of her worst-- THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS-- though it is certainly better than TROG.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Woman_Is_Dangerous

 

After he left Warners, he freelanced at RKO and Columbia in B films. His movie career was in decline during the mid-50s. He was quite wealthy due to wise investments, so he was not compelled to work much on TV. He did turn up in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents which can be viewed on Hulu. And years later, he had a last hurrah when he set sail on The Love Boat. In a 1980 episode of the Aaron Spelling series, he was reunited with his former Warner Brothers leading lady Jane Wyman, just before she began her long run on Falcon Crest.

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Just saw a film on TCM with Dennis Morgan (Bette Davis, Olivia DeHavilland and George Burnt)....I had never seen Dennis Morgan before and don't hear him mentioned too often here. I thought he was very handsome...can someone tell me any other good films of his?

Dennis Morgan was all round leading man at Warners throughout the 40s and into the 50s. He was the go-to guy for a conventionally handsome type; this counterbalanced WB's more typical atypically-looking tough guy male stars: Cagney, Bogart, Robinson, etc. In this respect, he was a bigger star at the studio than Ronald Reagan. He could be cast in anything: dramas, musicals, comedies,.etc. As mentioned, he was often cast with Jack Carson, along the lines of the ultra-successful Crosby-Hope films at Paramount.

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This has nothing to do with Dennis Morgan's movies, but, for whatever it's worth, he was a truly nice man in real life.  Warner Bros. considered him the most agreeable actor under contract with them, and he could always be relied on to be completely cooperative, unlike some of the other males under contract, such as Bogart, Garfield, and Robinson.  And he always seemed to portray nice human beings.

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The prestigious Players Club in NYC had Dennis Morgan as its President for a few years in the 50's I believe.  The Players Club was the home of Edwin Booth and it was a hang out for people in the arts and theatre.

 

The Players are still there in Gramercy Park and have been home for quite a few years to the Founding Tent of the Sons of the Desert.  I think we're moving, however, at the end of the year due to issues with the club (stemming from really bad stewardship at the Players).

 

As for Dennis Morgan, he was also in the 1943 version of THE DESERT SONG.  Morgan and Carson were Warners' attempt at a Hope and Crosby team.  Oh well. That happened. But their films together were fun, especially IT'S A GREAT FEELING.

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This has nothing to do with Dennis Morgan's movies, but, for whatever it's worth, he was a truly nice man in real life.  Warner Bros. considered him the most agreeable actor under contract with them, and he could always be relied on to be completely cooperative, unlike some of the other males under contract, such as Bogart, Garfield, and Robinson.  And he always seemed to portray nice human beings.

 

Bogart was one of the most cooperative actors Jack Warner had under contract.  E.g. he played all roles offered to him.  Maybe your confusing Bogie with Cagney or Raft as it relates to disputes with WB?

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A few posters have made reference to Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson being promoted as a team by Warner Brothers as their answer to Crosby and Hope. If only the material the studio gave them had been as strong, though their last film together, It's A Great Feeling, is fun.

 

In total, the studio co-starred the two actors eight times, four of them dramas, the other four comedies. It was in the latter four that the Crosby-Hope comparisons were made. The first of their comedies was Two Guys from Milwaukee. Ironically, Morgan and Carson had first met one another in Milwaukee in their pre-Hollywood days.

 

They would be friends until Carson's cancer death in 1963. Morgan would become a traveling spokesperson for the American Cancer Society for years, in tribute to his friend.

 

dennis_morgan_jack_carson_by_slr1238-d8l

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Good actor in both dramatic and lighter fare roles, and who also possessed a wonderful (but now out-of-fashion) Irish tenor singing voice.

 

(...I seem to be more impressed with him every time I happen to catch one of his movies on TCM)

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Good actor who also possessed a wonderful (but now out-of-fashion) Irish tenor singing voice.

 

(...I seem to be more impressed with him every time I happen to catch one of his movies on TCM)

 

He performs several Irish tunes in TEAR GAS SQUAD, where he plays a singing cop. It's my favorite B film of all time. The plot is ridiculous but the music is wonderful.

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-10-21%2Bat%2B3.51.5

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He performs several Irish tunes in TEAR GAS SQUAD, where he plays a singing cop. It's my favorite B film of all time. The plot is ridiculous but the music is wonderful.

 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-10-21%2Bat%2B3.51.5

 

Don't think I've ever seen this one, TB. However, after reading your post here, I went over to the IMDb website to check out what others have thought of this film and found you're not the only one praising it. Here's a couple of IMDb members' short review of this Dennis Morgan vehicle...

 

In January 2008, Snowflake22046 writes:

"It's funny, because of the name of this movie I wasn't going to watch it, that would have been a big mistake, he sings so good in this movie and his face expressions are so darn cute, when he is trying to make an impression on a girl's parents after he had made a big blunder of making jokes about policemen!!! Her family are all in the police department!!!!! If it comes on TV, don't miss it!!!!!! George Reeves also is in the movie!!!!!! Snowflake22046!!!!

 

And in March 2013, vawlkee2000 writes:

"Sure it's a "B" film but it has class all the way! From start to finish, snappy dialogue, great performances and a near breathless pace! Nobody could make 'em like Warner's!

Morgan starts out as a wise-**** and get's himself busted from the force. When his brother is murdered by by the hoods he had a part in busting in a robbery attempt earlier... Quoting Bugs Bunny: "Of course you know this means WAR!" Later Superman star, George Reeves puts in an excellent performance as Morgan's druggist Brother.

An excellent supporting cast keeps this film running at a breakneck pace! This film has "A" written all over it and is a "must see". I can't praise it too highly!

 

I could go on and on, but you should see it for yourselves and decide!

 
(...I just might have to check this one out...do ya know if TCM has ever shown it?) 
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(...I just might have to check this one out...do ya know if TCM has ever shown it?) 

 

 

Yes, TEAR GAS SQUAD has aired a few times in recent years on TCM. They dust it off when they're doing tributes for him or for John Payne, who plays his romantic rival. It clocks in at just under an hour, so as one of the reviewers you quoted says, it moves swiftly. Those moments where he sings to his Irish Ma (Mary Gordon) are truly sublime.

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Dennis Morgan is someone who I'd never heard of prior to becoming more active on these boards and watching TCM on a more consistent basis.  With every film I see Morgan in, the more I like him.  

 

I think my favorite performance of his so far is his performance in The Hard Way.  I thought he did a wonderful job as Jack Carson's friend and partner (in their song and dance act) who becomes suspicious of Ida Lupino's involvement in Carson and her sister Joan Leslie's relationship.  Later, he falls in love with Leslie.  It was a complicated role and I thought he did a great job.

 

I also really liked him in Kitty Foyle with Ginger Rogers. Rogers spoke highly of Morgan in her autobiography.  Getting to co-star with him again was one of the reasons she signed onto Perfect Strangers which I also enjoyed.  

 

I also really liked him in In This Our Life as part of the four-sided triangle.  He excelled in dramatic roles just as much he did in comedic ones like Christmas in Connecticut, It's a Great Feeling and Affectionately Yours.  

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I'd never heard of him either, until I started watching TCM. Now I'm a fan. The guy is so pleasant, so good-looking !  And always in equally pleasant movies  - well, almost always - The Hard Way is an exception. It's not "pleasant", although it is a really good movie... oh, wait, Kitty Foyle isn't always "pleasant" either. 

Ok, scratch the "pleasant" movie part. But he IS always nice eye candy !  

 

240px-Dennis_Morgan_in_The_Hard_Way_trai

 

Look at that boyish smile !

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I'd never heard of him either, until I started watching TCM. Now I'm a fan. The guy is so pleasant, so good-looking !  And always in equally pleasant movies  - well, almost always - The Hard Way is an exception. It's not "pleasant", although it is a really good movie... oh, wait, Kitty Foyle isn't always "pleasant" either. 

Ok, scratch the "pleasant" movie part. But he IS always nice eye candy !  

 

240px-Dennis_Morgan_in_The_Hard_Way_trai

 

Look at that boyish smile !

 

He's one of those stars in Hollywood who at the time, could headline a film, like Ann Sheridan and Ida Lupino to name a couple, but never transcended into "Legend" status.  He and many others were major stars, but they're hardly mentioned today, unless it's among groups of like-minded classic film fans.  I agree about him being pleasant and attractive.  I'm happy that with TCM and social networking among classic film fans and other arenas where like-minded people can get together and keep the memories of great performers, like Morgan, Sheridan and many others, alive.  

 

Lonesome Polecat loves Dennis Morgan.  LP, where are you?

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I have a question about the Dennis/Ginger Perfect Strangers. Can I ask it here or should I start a thread elsewhere? I don't want to break rules.

 

I don't think anyone would object to it, seeing that it is about Dennis Morgan.

 

After all, the Eddie Muller thread briefly turned into a discussion about Charo. 

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I have a question about the Dennis/Ginger Perfect Strangers. Can I ask it here or should I start a thread elsewhere? I don't want to break rules.

 

I say ask it here since you're taking about the film that starred Morgan (now if you have a question about the Kerr \ Donat version or the T.V.  show or ,,,,,,).

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I've only seen the film once, maybe 3 or 4 years ago. I thought it was an entertaining film, but the beginning really intrigued me. Did Ginger actually take an IQ test to be on the jury, and was that historically accurate? I was going to jury duty at the time and the initial part of the film really caught me.

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I've only seen the film once, maybe 3 or 4 years ago. I thought it was an entertaining film, but the beginning really intrigued me. Did Ginger actually take an IQ test to be on the jury, and was that historically accurate? I was going to jury duty at the time and the initial part of the film really caught me.

 

Perhaps it varied by state or county. Does it seem sexist by today's standards-- were the men also rated for the IQ? Procedures change over the years.

 

Recently I watched THREE GUYS NAMED MIKE, where Jane Wyman plays a stewardess (in the days when they were still proudly called stewardesses). She is going to get married at the end of the film, and it spells the end of her career. In 1951, married women could not serve as stewardesses and when they reached 30, if they were not married yet, they were let go. Of course, that would never happen today.

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